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A 10-year wait ends: A Gauteng farmer finally gets a tractor from government, boosting food security efforts in townships.

A full 10 years after waiting for government aid and missing some planting seasons, a farmer has finally received a tractor to plough with.

Gauteng premier Panyaza Lesufi and Mbali Hlophe, MEC for social development, agriculture, rural and development, yesterday engaged with Ekurhuleni residents on subsistence farming within their communities to boost food security and the provincial economy.

The department then handed over 10 tractors to grain and horticulture farmers.

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With the planting season approaching, the provincial government said they had introduced programmes to “combat poverty through food growing and processing as a measure to move impoverished residents from dependency on the state to self-reliance”.

A number of Gauteng residents, especially in townships, informal settlement and hostels, continued to bear the biggest brunt of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

These challenges are reflected in different ways such as food insecurity and hunger.

Mpho Tlape, Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development director responsible for farmers’ support, said the department was responsible for ensuring food production and dealing with food insecurity.

Krugersdorp farmer Carel Botes and his son Carel next to his new tractor in Kliprivier yesterday.

“What we are doing is giving the different agricultural commodities that the farmers and the entire farming community are involved in and providing them with necessary support, such as infrastructure, production support, training and capacity building,” he said.

“The main reason we are here is to hand over of tractors under the programme, with a view to assisting horticulture farmers and smallholder farmers to move from the level where they are operating to the ideal level and to optimise food production at farm level.

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“We want to ensure we have food produced at household level to satisfy food security.” A 78-year-old farmer from Devon, Hitler Moyo, said he had been struggling for the longest time in his farming business and was pleased to have finally received the tractor he had applied for.

“I have been farming for 35 years now and I have been waiting for assistance for my business from the government for the past 10 years. “I don’t want to lie – it has not been easy.

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I am also getting old so it was difficult. I ended up having to ask people to assist me to be able to plough,” he said.

Assistance from government was still required by many large and small farmers, Tlape said, acknowledging that not all farmers had benefitted yet.

“There are others yet to receive help and we are moving to ensure we provide government support to the entire farming community.”

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